Video Streaming

This article should be of interest to anyone looking at building their own site where they’ll be selling access to videos…

The big question I faced when looking at building my Niche Site Institute site was where to host the non-free tutorial videos.

In the past, with other sites I’ve built that had tutorial videos, I’ve hosted them on my own webhosting account. The downside of this is that the more people who look at the videos, the more bandwidth is used along with a greater amount of server resources. I’ve had sites go down on occasion because too many visitors were watching videos at the same time. That doesn’t give a good experience to anyone.

So for Niche Site Institute, I looked at alternative ways of hosting and serving/streaming videos to members.

YouTube

YouTube LogoYouTube was the obvious choice. Until I looked closer that is. While anyone can upload a video to YouTube, with new accounts you’re restricted to uploading videos under 20 minutes in length. That’s not too much of a restriction and one that can be lifted pretty quickly.

The real problem was that once a video is uploaded to YouTube, it’s available publicly. So if you’re running a membership site where video tutorials are not free to watch, how do you prevent someone from finding your videos for free on YouTube?

There are two ways. The first is to make your videos “private“.  The person who uploaded the video is the only one who can watch it. You can share it with whomever you want, but only by specifying their email address. That makes sharing/embedding a video like this on a site unworkable. So that option was out.

Next up was making a video “unlisted” on YouTube. This hides the video from being found via YouTube search but if someone should stumble across the video just trawling through YouTube, the video URL can be shared. So content can’t be protected by this option either.

So YouTube is a bust as a video webhost for non-free videos. I suppose it goes against the ethos of YouTube anyway.

Amazon S3

Amazon ServicesThe next option I considered was Amazon S3. Many marketers use this option for hosting videos. You only pay for video views as I understand it but it does mean there are ongoing costs for hosting videos. Plus, it looks too complicated to get things set up.

So I put this option on the back-burner, pretty much as a last resort

Vimeo

Vimeo logoVimeo is a video webhost I’ve never paid any attention to. I always thought of them as a YouTube wannabe, small fry in a big video ocean. It’s true that you can upload videos to Vimeo just as you can with YouTube but there is a difference in ethos. Whereas YouTube will accept pretty much anything, Vimeo don’t like marketing-style videos; i.e. the kind of videos designed to sell something or describe marketing methods.

To be more specific, Vimeo don’t like marketing/sales videos to appear in their listings (i.e. they don’t want such videos to turn up in their search listings).  They’re quite happy to have such videos hosted on their site so long as they’re private videos (i.e. not publicly shared).

So I thought Vimeo was a bust too. Until I looked  at their paid options. They offer two: Plus ($50 per year) and Pro ($159 per year).

After reviewing the features in each option, I picked Plus. This allows up to 5Gb a week of videos to be uploaded. I could never see myself uploading more than that amount of videos, even with a site like Niche Site Institute. Hosting is included in the annual fee, regardless of how much you’ve uploaded. By comparison, a standard website hosting account costs $120+ per year.

But what really drew me to Vimeo were the video privacy options. You can make your videos private (as on YouTube) so they don’t show up in a search on the site, but what you can also do is set what websites are able to embed your videos. So it’s simple to list just your own sites where you want your videos to appear.

But what if someone just copies the video URL to share it? They will see this message:

Vimeo Sorry Page

You also have the option of disabling the embedding option so there’s no way for anyone to share your video without your permission.

Here’s a screenshot of the privacy settings that Vimeo lets you change:

Vimeo Privacy Settings

as you can see from the screenshot, playback of the videos available to paying members on Niche Site Institute is locked to specifically to that site.

That kind of privacy control for videos is worth $50 a year.

So if you’re thinking about building your own video tutorial site where you want full control over who can see your videos and where, Vimeo may just be the best option out there for you.



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Filed under: Video Marketing